The more I consider the Trent Richardson trade, the more I like it for the Browns.
Across the League, General Managers and agents are probably yelling at their computers, “Why didn’t you call about my running back?!” You know what Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, Reggie Bush, Stevan Ridley, Bernard Pierce, DeAngelo Williams, Mark Ingram, Bryce Brown, and – gulp! – Isaac Redman all have in common? They all averaged more yards per carry and produced more runs over 20 yards than Trent Richardson last year. I wager that all of them could have been had at less than the price paid for Richardson, and some of them were street free agents as recently as this past offseason.
Everyone points out that the Browns desperately want to upgrade the quarterback position. They improved their chances of doing so in the 2014 draft, as many commentators have noted. But, suppose the Chargers’ shaky defense puts them out of contention by Week 8, and Phillip Rivers hits the trading block. The Browns may decide he offers more promise than any of the prospects in the upcoming draft. You know what the Chargers will take for Phillip Rivers? First round picks. You know what makes the Chargers hang up the phone? The name ‘Trent Richardson.’
Richardson is a good back that improves Indy’s playoffs chances. He doesn’t fumble and he stays on the field on third down and he plays through injury. But there were more creative ways for Indy to upgrade their roster, without mortgaging the future. The Browns can exercise some of those options in replacing Richardson.